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Romania’s 52nd bear is rescued

Sep 7, 2010

On August 25, the Romanian Police and members of the Environment Guard rescued a bear cub from a village guesthouse near Fagaras. They have safely moved him to the Zarnesti bear sanctuary, where he will now live alongside five other young bears.

Brought to the guesthouse by local forestry workers, the bear – who is about one year old and called Tello – was kept in a 13x13-foot metal cage. A member of the public spotted and reported Tello’s captivity and a team comprised of the police, Fagaras County’s Association of Hunters and Fishermen and staff from the Zarnesti bear sanctuary organized his safe rescue.

Tello’s story was covered by Romania’s national news media, indicating that the joint Milioane de Prieteni/WSPA work to help end this cruel captivity is succeeding. The pubic, authorities and media are now helping to ensure our message gets through to those people who may have previously considered keeping a bear.

The private keeping of bears in captivity is now illegal in Romania and, thanks to Cristina Lapis and her Zarnesti bear sanctuary, this law is now being strongly enforced. This has been the only necessary bear rescue in Zarnesti County this year, which further illustrates the effectiveness of the sanctuary, which Cristina founded in 2005.

The owner of the guesthouse now faces imprisonment for between three months and one year, or a fine of between 30,000 and 60,000 lei (approximately $8,900-$17,819).

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